Friday, July 20, 2012

How Long Is A Dental Specialty Residency?

Ok, you are now a dentist.  You have completed four years of dental school and have "Dr." in front of your name.  Congratulations!  At this point you can do almost any technique, diagnosis and treatment modality in all of dentistry.  What if you want to specialize?  You know, be an Orthodontist or Oral Surgeon?  That takes more years of study as seen here in a this graphic.  Most specialty programs are at least two years in length.  There are some variations in programs from one school to another.  For instance, some specialty programs in Orthodontics are two years and others three.  GPR programs are usually one year in length.
(Click to enlarge):

*Compiled from data from the ADA Survey of Advanced Dental Education 2010-2011, and published in the ADA News Volume 43, No. 13 July 16, 2012.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

How to Study

With all the volume of material a dental or medical student has to remember, how do they do it?  Well, some do the "binge and purge" method, cramming the night before an exam, then forgetting most till the next time.  This is not a good way to really learn.  There is research that repetition over time helps retention.  Information studied one day, then reviewed again the next day or two is better retained.  Here is a reference article:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Think Small

There was an article in the wall street journal yesterday that caught my attention:

New Lawyers Seeking Jobs, Advised To Think Small

It was advising young lawyers to set up practice in smaller more rural towns and cities.  There were just fewer opportunities in the big cities.  This is also true in dentistry.  In my book, I advise young dentists to consider smaller towns where not only is there a real need, but you can do very well financially.  If you or your spouse are distressed about living away from a larger area, you can live one place and commute to your office if it's not too far.  If you set up in a nice suburban area or large city where there is a dentist on every corner, well, good luck.  It may be more difficult to make a go of it as soon as you would like.  Specialists may have to look more carefully as you do need a larger drawing area and population than a general dentist, but there is still a need for specialists in smaller towns.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The University of Alabama School of Dentistry (UAB) likes my book

The University of Alabama School of Dentistry just bought a bunch of my books.  They told me they may give some of them to interested students who interview there and also for their leadership council.

I am pleased they find it of use.  Here I am with Dean Reddy:

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Average DAT Scores

The DAT or Dental Admissions Test measures an applicant's potential for success based on performance in several academic disciplines.  Here is a graph of the rising competitiveness of scores in recent years:

I cannot emphasize more how competitive it is to get into dental school these days.  You must have very good grades and very good DAT scores.  After research and studying recent trends and speaking to Deans of dental schools, I can say with confidence that it is harder to get into dental school than medical school.  I have heard of someone saying, "If I don't get into dental school, I can always fall back on medical school." Wow, how times have changed.  In fact, even since I wrote my book and alluded to the increasing application/acceptance ratio to dental schools these days, there has been an increase in the number of applications for the limited slots available.  There is a rapidly rising number of applicants and the quality of those applicants is rising very rapidly as well.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Get Those Requirements!

In my book, Dental School, I mentioned the trials and difficulties of the dental school experience.  One thing I would like to bring out more is the relentless pursuit of "Requirements."  What do I mean?  Requirements are the need number of specific procedures you must accomplish to pass or to graduate.  These are things like a specific number of crowns, dentures, root canals, or two surface fillings you must complete.

It always seemed in my experience and in those with whom I talk to, that it was difficult to get these done in a reasonable time frame.  What if the patient you have acquired or been assigned needs three fillings, one root canal and one crown.  That's great, but you need to do a periodontal surgery crown lengthening, and a post and core buildup prior to the crown, and moreover, the only thing you really need as far as requirements is the crown.  In some schools you have to get all the necessary work done on the patient, much like in the real world.  In some other situations, you may be able to have someone else do the root canal and surgery, then you do the crown, but that can take a while before you get it done.

The thing I want to emphasize is the drive to get the requirements.  It's not always easy.  Some schools are having a more difficult time getting patients as more and more are treated by private practitioners.  I know some pediatric residents that do only one or two premed (sedation) cases prior to graduation.  In practice I do one or two sedation cases a day.  Experience is an important part of developing and perfecting a skill.  The more you do the more you know how to deal with the little variations in each case.  Requirements are just the way schools have of making sure a dental student gets at least some basic minimal experience before awarding a degree.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dental School Is Exactly Like This

Dental School is Exactly Like This.  Ok, well, maybe not exactly.  Still, dental school was certainly an awesome experience.  I'm sure we could have made such a great video in our day if we had the technology.  In fact, weirder things than this are know to happen.  Hat tip to UNLV School of Dental Medicine.

Buy my book on Dental School click here.

Double click the youtube video for option of full screen.

Corrections and Additions

1.  Ok, I seem to have left off the following ADA approved dental school in my listings in the book.  Probably because they do not have a website at this time.  My apologies; here is the info from the website I did list:

Roseman University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine 
10920 S. Riverfront Park 
South Jordan 84095 
Dean: Dr. Richard N. Buchanan 
Phone: 801-878-1400 

2.  In the printed book, the word "you" should be "your" at the top of page 54 and in the "Tip" section on page 69. These two typos occurred only in the print version.

*The e-book kindle version has these corrections as of April 6, 2012.

Improved the weblinks as of may 2012.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dental Schools Opening All Over

In response to rising demand for a dental education back in the late 1970s and early 1980s there was a large increase in the number of dental students matriculating in dental schools across the nation.  Some of this was due to federal funding increasing the number of slots available.  After a while, this led to what some called an oversupply of practicing dentists leading to a wave of unforeseen changes in the business of dentistry, namely the introduction of managed care dental plans and increased competition.

In time the cost to the schools of providing a dental school education began to rise and some, mainly private, schools began to close; schools like Northwestern, Georgetown and Emory.  

Recently there has been an increase in the number of schools opening or planing to open across the country.  I do not know what long term effect this may have.  It will be interesting to see what happens and how this might affect dental school admissions and graduates.  One planned school at the University of Central Florida has been put on hold. I do hope these new programs will provide a great educational experience and not just become a profit center for the parent organization with little actual training or education for the students.

More information on Dental School can be found in my new book.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Continuing Education--"CE"

Continuing education, otherwise known as "CE," is a constant in any profession.  School does not end with graduation. A dentist must constantly keep up with not only the newest techniques and materials, but also re-learn what has since been forgotten.  In my state we must complete at least 20 hours of CE every year just to keep our license. This is actually quite a low number, as many I know have many more hours than that.  Continuing education, and the associated credits, is usually be obtained by attending lectures, courses, local meetings, national conferences, and hands on classes.  Online courses are also useful and becoming more common.

Back in the old days physicians and dentists would learn by didactic or "book learning" but also by observing procedures and surgeries.  Anesthesia using ether for surgery was first demonstrated in the "Ether Dome" at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.  You can see this lecture hall/operating room still today.  I visited this historic place several years ago.  The benches are quite steep so "students" could observe the activities below.  So, learning is a continuous process.  Your dentist probably is spending more hours in lectures on weekends and evenings than you know.  This is why we call it dental practice.  We are always practicing and learning.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dental School: Preparation, Survival and Success Now Available

My new book, "Dental School: Preparation, Survival and Success" is now available.

Many times on this blog, people have asked questions about the dental school experience.  They have asked, "How do I get into dental school?"or, "What courses should I take?"  I have compiled answers to these and many more questions into my new book.  It will be available on Amazon starting about February 1st 2012.

Have you ever wanted to become a Dentist or Orthodontist?  This book covers not only how to get in, but what dental school is really like, how to excel, and how to succeed the difficult years of study. Postgraduate residency in specialties like Orthodontics, Oral Surgery and Pediatric Dentistry are covered in addition to business aspects of the profession and options after graduation including sitting up a practice and employment opportunities.  I have also included a section on The Internet, Dentistry and Social Media.

If you or anyone you know is considering dental or medical school, or you just want to find out what it takes to become a dentist, this book will provide lots of answers.  I have included data on tuition and financial costs, the DAT, in addition to personal experiences and advice.

The foreword is written by Dr, Nido Qubein, the president of High Point University.

Please purchase the book and write a great review!  Here is the link:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

How Hard Is It To Get Into Dental School?

How competitive is it to get into dental school?  I have addressed this in my book in some detail, but want to add this interesting chart (I hope you can see it-click it to enlarge slightly):

This is a long term view of the popularity of dental school.  The red line is the number of applications, the blue line is the number of positions available.  In the year 2010, there were 12,202 applications for 5089 slots.  There are times where applications fell and other times where the number of applications rose.  You can see the overall trend that there are more applications per opening now than in the recent past.  So, is this a more competitive environment?  Yes.  However, this is data can be somewhat misleading if you are to conclude one has no chance.  Decisions on entrance are made one student at a time.  If all the additional applicants in recent years have a less attractive resume than you, then it does not matter as much whether there are more applicants or not.  The striking thing to me is the greater desire of students to select dentistry as a career and the rather limited number of slots in dental schools to meet that demand.

I have talked to many a physician, and have seen medicine become a less attractive field than it might have been in previous years.  Also, in times of economic downturn, the stability of a profession like dentistry becomes more attractive--and more competitive.